EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCAITON
UNDERSTANDING AND WORKING WITH THE CONCEPT OF CULTURAL COMPETENCE
Cultural competence is to be considered and addressed in the completion of Common Performance Tasks and assignments.
EWU Educational Leadership Program working definition: knowledge, consideration, and strategies of addressing issues for all the ways students, staff and the community are different.
What is Cultural Competency?
Cultural competence requires that organizations and their personnel have the capacity to: (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to the diversity and cultural contexts if individuals and communities served. (Cross, 1989)
Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enable professionals to come together and work effectively in cross-cultural situations. 'Culture' refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. 'Competence' implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989).
Defining Cultural Competency
Operationally defined, cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes.
Cultural competence refers to the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, particularly in the context of human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethics.
Ethical cultural competency practices – (1) awareness of one’s own cultural background and how it influences perception, values and practices; (2) understanding of structural benefits and privileges and how they mold educational practices and organizations; (3) ability to find and use tools, processes and programs that promote professional and organizational self-examination and assessment in order to mitigate behaviors and practices (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned-privilege, euro-centrism) that undermine inclusion , equity and cultural competence in education.
Interns’ funds of knowledge –interns reflect upon their own attitudes and plan for growth in cultural competence; these attitudes and experiences inform the cohorts’ learning and behaviors, curriculum, courses, and field experiences. Insures candidates can integrate their cultural and linguistic backgrounds into classroom activities to build on their multicultural capacity.